Given the right conditions, hailstones can form at any time during the year and in any location. In most parts of the U.S., hail season begins in March and typically extends into the summer months. Hailstones can grow to be as large as two inches in diameter, and large hailstones can reach speeds of up to 100 mph. As a result, hail causes millions of dollars in property damage every year.
For example, hail can significantly damage various parts of your building, including:
- Roof coverings and roof-mounted equipment, such as air conditioners, vents, solar panels, skylights, and heating units
- Windows, siding, and exterior insulating and finish system (EIFS) wall coverings
The age, type, and condition of your roof covering may make it more susceptible to damage. For example, coverings made from single-ply materials or lighter-gauge metals are more vulnerable than those made with gravel, stone, or heavy-gauge metals. Roof coverings with large blisters or ballasts may also experience greater damage from hail and high winds.
While hailstorms cannot be prevented, there are steps you can take to help protect your facility and equipment. Here are some ways to help prepare:
- Inspect your roof regularly to keep it free from defects and in good condition.
- Repair any blisters in roof coverings and ballasts that are unevenly distributed.
- Install protective screens over skylights.
- Install protective shields with hood-type projections or screens to safeguard rooftop equipment. Consult manufacturers prior to installation to confirm such devices do not affect equipment operating efficiency or warranties.
Additionally, for renovation or new construction projects:
- Use an impact-resistant roof covering or a ballast system designed with gravel, stone, or roof pavers.
- If installing EIFS wall coverings, select a system with high-impact resistance.
By following these recommendations and consulting with your insurer about further precautions, you can help prevent or minimize hail damage to your business.